Summer time?

sweater weather
Necklace Novica | top H&M | leggings M&S | boots Cos | bag Fjallraven

So you know how last week Cath was complaining about how hot it was in Atlanta? Well, I was super jelly. I mean, even though I vaguely remember those swelteringly humid days that made it hard for your lungs to work, I can’t help thinking summer heat is amazing! And I know I’m just saying that because I live some place that doesn’t really do summer.

I’m still wearing long sleeves and trousers and a coat most days. The only difference between my spring wardrobe and my full-on winter wardrobe is I allow for a generous amount of ankle sliver (see pic above) and I don’t wear a scarf or gloves with my coat.

If you are a sweater-weather fan, Scotland is the place for you. Our winters aren’t too cold (but boy are they long and dark) and you can wear layers year round. Yes, year round! Summer is jacket-weather except for those few blissful days (and I mean days, not weeks) where the heat breaks just over 70 degrees … and even then you’ll probably need a jacket at some point because it does still cool down at night.

I’m sure that all must sound heavenly to you guys fighting it out in the heat right now. And I do feel incredibly lucky to live in a beautiful city where even cockroaches don’t dare to tread. I know I will miss this stoney, shadowy silhouette of Edinburgh when I’m living in the freshly scrubbed Pacific Northwest. I will romanticise Scottish rain (because it’s totally different to Seattle rain) and I’ll miss the history and the stoic dreichness of this beautiful place. But, in the meantime, I miss the heat and the sun and the lack of a true summer.

Billy Connelly was so right when he said, “There are two seasons in Scotland: June and Winter.”  And when he says “June” he means “kind of Spring, but not even.”

Good luck with whichever weather you are facing now: sweater or sweat-er. And tell me how you’re coping!


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Summer Time

Milly_for_Kohls_capri_tank

My summer festival outfit (note my hair flattened by sweat): Milly for Kohl’s tank | Rkitekt necklace | secondhand Coach bag | Marc by Marc sunglasses

It’s not technically summer yet, but it already feels like it in Atlanta. I hate the summer. I know. It’s a strong statement, so let me rephrase: I hate the summer unless I’m at the beach. Here are my five reasons to dislike the season:

1. The heat makes me sleepy and I feel like I’m much less productive when it’s hot out.

2. It means the cockroaches come out. Troy and I pay top dollar to get our house filled with chemicals to ward off the little buggers, but there’s nothing that gets rid of cockroaches completely. It’s just part of living in the south. And there’s nothing you can do about them when you’re outside in nature – like on a city sidewalk at night. My coping mechanism is to constantly prance around so one won’t run over my foot. I’m open to other suggestions.

3. I’m naturally a heavy sweater (as in I sweat a lot, not the article of clothing). If I’m walking outside for a few minutes I start getting gross and then it takes me forever to cool off once I’m inside. Troy is a lucky guy!  I have to shower at least once a day and wash my hair every day.

4. Even though sweating in the heat is miserable, I also hate the super frigid, overly air conditioned rooms. My office is so cold in the summer that I wear a sweater and use a heater under my desk. That means the air conditioning is in high gear AND I’m using energy to run the heater, which means I’m giving the environment a double slap in the face (plus there’s that whole showering multiple times a day thing when parts of the country is in a draught).

5. On an even more vain note, sweating outside + freezing inside makes for some seriously unfortunate outfits. For example:  sleeveless dress with ill-fitting sweater I keep in my office for emergencies that makes me look like I stepped out of Lands End catalog from the 1980s. I always forget to bring a better sweater or coverup alternative with me to the office because as I’m running out the door in the morning into the god forsaken heat, the last thing on my mind is more layers.

Am I alone here? I know it’s ridiculous to be so down on summer when I live in the American south, but you have to take the bad with the good. Hot summers also mean not having super cold and long winters. So there’s that. And then Creative Loafing just published its 2015 Summer Guide this week that made me not hate this time of year so much.

I hope you all have a not-too-hot weekend!


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Working out at home: my favourite 10 Minute (HIIT) workout

In my last post I talked about going to the gym and my former gym-phobia. I have had an official gym membership for nearly eight months now — and that sounds so weird still! Going to a gym (any gym) is still new to me. And I still find lots of certain aspects of working out tricky.

For instance, if it’s a cold, rainy, windy evening in Edinburgh (the usual spring/summer weather here), the idea of gymming it after a long day in the office sounds about as appealing as rubbing chili seeds in my eyes.

So I found what works best for me is to go to the gym during the weekend and do some workout at home during the week. My favourite one at the moment is this high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. I know 10 minutes isn’t that hard-core, but I feel really proud of myself when I make it through this. Though I have to say, I’m so very glad I can do this in the privacy of my own home. By the end of most of the sets I can barely lift my legs off the ground and my arms go all wobbly — I look a bit like a turtle trying to do a handstand. It is heeerrrrd!

Speaking of my hermit-like tendency during the week, I should be completely honest and tell you that I also still get a bit overwhelmed at the gym if it’s really busy. After work is usual peak time at my local gym and I found it hard to stay focused with tons of people running and cross training all around me.

Another bonus for doing some at-home workouts? I work different muscles than when I go to the gym. I tend to stick to a routine at the gym (2 miles on the elliptical, a few wights and then yoga) and I know I won’t get Michelle Obama arms just doing the same thing over and over.

As I mentioned earlier this week, I used to detest working out. It’s still not my favourite thing, but I’ve been very motivated by the Endo Monster and it really helps to blog about it. So hope you guys don’t mind me sharing what I do from time to time!

x Lar


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First Look: Petit Vour Subscription Box

I love the concept behind subscription boxes (even though they kind of go against the whole simplifying your life/KonMari method). The thought of receiving a gift in the mail once a month is so happy-making. Am I right? Initially I was thinking about trying out Ipsy, but because I’m working on switching out all my makeup to more all-natural products, I went with Petit Vour instead. It’s $15/month – so $5 more than Ipsy, but so far I it’s totally worth the money!

Here’s what arrived in my April box:
Petit_Vour_April15_box

1. Konjac Facial Puff Sponge. It’s an all natural sponge that you can use as a cleanser even without any additional products. It has a kind of hard texture, but as soon as you soak it in water, it gets a nice springy texture. I’ve used it a couple of times in the shower on my face and really like it. It’s supposed to last around three months, so if I find that it makes a difference in my complexion, I’ll include it in my Q2 favorites post.

2. Box Naturals Luxe Towelettes. These are not your average face wipes – and I’ve used a number of different brands before. They’re made with all natural ingredients, scented with organic essential oils, and 100% biodegradable. I was kind of skeptical before using one of these, but ended up loving it so much that I’ve decided to save my other sample for Lar. Unlike most wipes these towelettes didn’t irritate my skin at all and left my face feeling both clean and moisturized. I’d love to buy a box of these, but at $10 for 12 towelettes, it’s a little pricy and I’d be tempted to use them everyday.

3. Suntegrity “5 in 1″ Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen – Tinted. This is my favorite item in the box hands down. It’s like a sunblock, BB Cream and moisturizer in one. It goes on pretty thick, but absorbs into the skin fast. As soon as I run out of my current BB Cream, I’m getting this stuff!

4. Lauren B. Beauty Nail Polish. This polish isn’t just free of parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, sulfates, and triclosan, it’s also chip resistant and long lasting. I’m testing it out on my toes at the moment and love the color – perfect cherry color for the summer. I’ll post a photo either on here or on Instagram of my toes at some point this week.

Petit_vour_April_itesm

My May box should be on its way and I can’t wait to see what’s in it. I probably won’t do an unboxing type post like this one for every box, but I’m sure my favorites will end up on this blog at some point.

Do you subscribe to any boxes? I’ve heard good things about Birchbox and I have a friend who is loving LeTote. Let me know what you like – I just might sign up!


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Why I Workout

workout

Before October of last year, I’d never set foot in a gym. And I was obnoxiously very proud of that fact. The idea of row upon row of shiny, fit people running on treadmills made me smirk knowing that I had never participated in such mindless, rote activities.

What I snob, I was! So judgey! A mindset that 100% came from being intimidated by the idea of a gym.

I knew that working out was a good thing, but the thought of those clanky and complicated looking weight machines and intimidating, sweaty people in spandex made me uncomfortable. So even though I’ve been horribly out of shape for years, I never gave the gym a second thought.

But, like nearly everything in my life, things have changed since learning to live with endometriosis. After my first surgery two years ago, I spent half a year still feeling like my body had to knit itself back together. After that, I did a bit of tentative tai chi and yoga, but was really scared to do anything else.

Being afraid of my body because of both my endo and the subsequent surgeries, is not something I ever thought would happen. It’s strange to feel so uncertain of your body. Cath and I trained for 13 years to be ballet dancers. As a dancer, your body is your instrument and you feel you have absolute control over it — put in enough hours of practice and training and you know exactly how to make your body move how you want it and withstand exacting and punishing positions.

But even with this new fear, endo is actually what also propelled me to the gym. I wanted to feel strong again and in control of my body (as much as possible with a capricious, poorly-understood chronic disease). I’d also learned that working out would help keep my hormones leveled out better (women with endo usually have too much estrogen).

So even though the idea of spending an hour with the whirring treadmills and clanking weights of a gym doesn’t make me jump out of bed in the morning, I feel so lucky to get to do it! Since October I’ve felt so much better (thanks, endorphins, you are the bestest!) and my body has more muscle than its had in nearly a decade. I do get some pain in my pelvis once in a while if I go too hard, but I try to listen to what my body needs and pull back when I need to.

I’m still a newbie at working out (which sounds kind of ridiculous at 31 years old), but I plan to make this part of my life. Working out for me will never be about loosing weight or gaining muscle (thought I’m so glad those both happen), but to stay healthy and hopefully keep kicking the endo monster in the butt as often as possible. Getting stronger is a good motivator, but the thing that motivates me most, and also makes it hard to do, is having endometriosis.

So I spend way more time than I ever thought I would googling new workouts to try and half of my instagram feed is fitness gurus that keep me inspired on those days (most days if I’ve being honest ;)) when I don’t feel like working out.

This is all to let you know that you’ll be hearing more fitness-y related things on this blog. Which is weird because I think one of the many reasons why I never wanted to go to a gym was because I felt like there was a smugness about people who worked out. Again, that’s my judgey-ness coming through. But I don’t want you guys to think I’m ever posting pics of myself in the gym because I feel smug. It’s all to foster a holistic approach to staying healthy, whether you are working through health problems too or just want to be a bit more healthy.

Phew! Sorry for that lengthy babble. I promise to keep my next posts short and sweet! There’s just a lot of baggage I carry around with working out, and I wanted to let you guys know about it before I just started posting about fitness and health-related things.

I’d love to hear what you guys do or if you’ve had gym-ophobia too.

x Lar


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Quick Weekend Outfit

It’s going to be way too hot to wear this outfit this weekend – 90 degrees this Sunday! I’m never ready for summer weather. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons. If I could live somewhere that is always jacket weather, I’d be perfectly content.

weekend_outfit

BB Dakota jacket | Urban Outfitters top | Gap jeans (obviously very old) | Boutique Karma necklace | Longchamp bag | Flats, secondhand from Meredith

What’s that you say? Did I get Troy to take an outfit shot of me at our local Kroger? Uh. Yes. Yes, I did. I have no (blogger) shame. I realized my hair was looking decent when we went to the grocery store and whipped out my camera in the, ahem, beverage aisle.

I don’t really have super cute, creative weekend outfits. If I spend money on clothes it’s most likely going to be work appropriate because that’s what I have to wear 80% of my waking life. For the most part, my weekend wardrobe consists of t-shirts and jeans. I like my t-shirts baggy and my jeans slim – and my shoes flat. I’ve come the realization at the ripe old age of 31 heels are not my friend. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the way heels look and will wear them as much as I can, but after years of ballet and heel wearing, it’s time to be a little kinder to my feet.

multitone_flats

A t-shirt with jeans might seem uninspiring, but I like having a uniform for the weekend. I might branch out at some point this summer and get a romper/jumpsuit (what’s the difference?!) to wear on weekends, but only if i can find one on the cheap. Any suggestions? H&M? F21? Let me know what your weekend uniform is.


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Stay Golden

Hi luvs!

Thank you to everyone who commented on Lar’s last post. We’re excited to take AsianCajuns in a slightly different direction and I suppose it goes without saying that I’m over the moon that my twin sis/bestie is moving back stateside.

We’ll start making the blog transition over the summer and we hope you like it!
____________

I wanted to do a quick post on my love for golden jewelry. It’s kind of become a little bit of an obsession. And keep in mind I’m talking about golden jewelry and not jewelry made of gold- I’m not rolling in money, folks!

Last weekend I stopped by the Root City Market pop up in Decatur and bought three more rings to add to my collection from Melting Sun Apparel – 3 for $9!

gold_rings

Rings from left to right: Melting Sun Apparel, Squash Blossom Boutique, Agnes Scott College Ring, Melting Sun Apparel, Top Shop (mentioned here), Melting Sun Apparel. And for those of you who are interested, I’m wearing these on my nails.

I also recently bought this golden necklace (below) from Boutique Karma – a locally owned shop in Decatur, GA – for only $20.

gold_accessories_necklace

 

I know the golden trend is nothing new – it might even be a little passé. What’s next? Rose gold? Silver – even though it feels so 90s/00s now?! Either way, I’m sticking to gold for now. Any other gold/golden jewelry fans out there?


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I’m Moving to Seattle!

Seattle border

Hi Lovely Readers

Cath and I apologise for leaving AsianCajuns in the lurch these past few weeks. We’ve been having a think about things because I’ll be moving back to the States. Cath and I will no longer be ‘Twins blogging an ocean apart’!!!

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be closer to my twinie — yes, still a hefty plane ride away, but at least on the same land mass with the same network providers. Matt and I will miss Edinburgh and the UK so very much as we feel very much at home here. But Matt has heard the siren call of the Pacific Northwest (i.e. he got a post doc position at the University of Washington), and, apparently, we only move to very rainy cities.

The next few months we’ll be traveling quite a bit as things wrap up here and we try to soak up all this nearby European goodness and see as much of Britain as we can. Change and travel always get my mind whirring and that lead to Cath and I deciding we’d like to change things up here on the blog.

We tend to reassess a lot these days because we know blogging isn’t a popular platform anymore. And over the past four years whilst I’ve been here we’ve really used the blog selfishly — as the way for the two of us to stay connected. It’s been lovely, but we weren’t really sure if it’s that satisfying to anyone else! Also, we’re hoping to see much more of each other when I’m stateside and won’t need AsianCajuns to be our public pen pal letter anymore.

We plan to keep blogging though — and more! But we are going to shift our blog topics slightly and get a bit more focused. I know I’m being very vague, but Cath and I want to sort of see where this takes us and if anyone has any use for it.

So if you have been a long-time reader, thank you very much for sticking with us through these many years (eight years of blogging — I feel ancient in blog years!). We’ve loved getting to know so many of you and we hope you enjoy where AsianCajuns goes next!

Ooodles of XOXOXO,

Lar

(Seattle drawing by moi)

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Monday Inspiration: Sia

Dearest Lar,

I rarely talk about my job on the blog. For whatever reason, I’ve always kept AsianCajuns relatively separate from my work in local government. I suppose it makes sense. Economic development doesn’t really have a place in a lifestyle blog. That being said, I’m making an exception today.

As you know (but our readers don’t), I’ve been working with my organization’s innovation team – a group of 12 of us that is charged with creating an innovative project. We gave a presentation on that project in Phoenix at a local government conference last week (where I found this gem). In addition to our presentation, we also got to show our group video – which has nothing to do with our project and everything to do with our definition of innovation:

I debated about whether or not to share the video – mostly for egotistical reasons. I hate my outfit. Seriously. I need to get my shirt tailored and buy new pants. But I’m so proud of my team and their amazing willingness to take part in my crazy idea that I had to share it. I don’t know of any other government organization where you’d find such open-minded and creative folks willing to learn some crazy choreography, put on a blond wig, pink blush, and come in on a Saturday without pay to do a video for work.

Also, Greg shot the whole thing on his fancy camera after I told him I was going to attempt to use my old iPhone. What an awesome friend! And Troy was there the whole time helping Greg with the camera work and he spliced down the song to two minutes so I didn’t have to choreograph a four minute song. Best bf ever!

So basically, I’m riding on a high that I have such amazing friends/co-workers who were willing to do this with me and I wanted to share.

Happy Monday!

xoxo, Cath


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2015 Q1 Favorites

Dearest Lar,

I’ve totally gotten hooked on watching favorites make up videos on YouTube. I just love hearing about real products from real women. So I figured I’d do my own favorites (not just makeup), but instead of doing a monthly favorites (I don’t buy enough things to have favorites every month), I’ll just post my favorites every quarter :) So without further ado, here we go!

1. Tarte Cosmetics LipSurgence and Butter Lipstick
Tarte lip gloss 1
The lipstick is the Tartelette limited edition Amazonian butter lipstick in Ethereal Pink. I picked it up last time I was at Sephora because I’ve been looking for the perfect light-ish pink that goes with my skin tone. I like it on its own, but I like it even better with the gloss layered over it. I got the LipSurgence gloss (in Flush) as a gift with purchase and didn’t really think I’d like it. I’m not really a bright pink person, but it goes on really nicely and it is the ONLY thing that keeps my lips from drying up.

Even though Tarte cosmetics aren’t all natural, they’re a step in the right direction. Tarte products are formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phtalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, synthetic fragrances and gluten.

Here’s what it looks like on my lips:

tarte pink lipstick

 

2. Muji Multi Cape

Muji Multi cape

You were so so so sweet to buy me this amazing piece from Muji last summer. I love how versatile it is and the fabric is so delicate. It’s the perfect spring time cover up/scarf.

Also, do you have any idea how I can prevent so many wrinkles from gathering on my skirt?! It looks terrible!

3. J.Crew Factory D’orsay Flats

JCrew flats

I’ve been wearing more flats since I’m trying to get 10,000 steps in each day. Wearing heels = me finding every excuse not to walk and roll around on my office chair instead. The only problem is that office appropriate flats usually don’t work with my feet. I have wide feet and pretty ballet flats usually hurt like crazy. So I picked up these D’orsay flats a few weekends ago and have been wearing them ever since. My left heel got a small blister the first day I wore them, but other than that they’ve been really comfortable.

JCrew factory flats

4. Topshop Ring

Topshop ring

I picked this ring up at the Atlanta Topshop opening last month and wear it almost every day. It was only $18 and the best money I’ve spent all month. I can’t find it online, but it might still be available in stores. I’ve received so many compliments on it because it’s such a statement piece, but not your typical giant cocktail ring. Wouldn’t it be cool if the glass was really a rough-cut diamond?! Actually, scratch that. If it was a real diamond, I wouldn’t be able to afford it so never mind!

5. Kickstarter: #TruthBeauty

Beauty lies Truth

Alexis Krauss and Jessic Assaf are on a mission to make the safest skincare and makeup affordable to everyone. I love the concept because, as I mentioned in this post, I’m slowly trying to get rid of all harmful beauty products. But sometimes it gets so overwhelming trying to keep up with what’s natural and what’s really bad for you. Also the natural stuff that beauty magazines suggest are usually crazy expensive. I now read the Beauty Lies Truth blog religiously.

6. TV Shows: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Peaky Blinders

favorite tv shows

Both are streaming on Netflix and they couldn’t be more different. I’m so glad I got you hooked on Unbreakable. Since I’ve already seen the whole season, I’ll replay episodes as I blog and check emails. It’s happy-making but also not completely superficial and Titus Andromeda is the best! Also, hashbrown no filter.

Peaky Blinders is dark in every way possible – storyline, sets, costumes, makeup – but I love it. The acting is great, the set design is more stylized that a typical period piece, and somehow the contemporary music totally works. I know you said you’ve seen a few episodes, so keep watching and let me know what you think!

Ta da! My next favorites post will be in June. You should do one too!

Skype this Saturday? I can’t wait to hear about your Berlin trip!

xoxo, Cath


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